SILCHAR, Feb 26: The Barak Valley has much to cheer from the railway budget of Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu. The blockade created by previous Congress government for the unigauge conversion of broad gauge from Silchar to Lumding was a hindrance to hinterland connectivity with Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur.
It took almost long 18 years to complete the unigauge conversion between Silchar and Lumding and with that the connectivity with the neighbouring three states could be possible. The first passenger train on the completed track flagged off by Manoj Sinha, Minister of state for Railways, on November 21, 2015, brightened the prospect of extending the unigauge conversion from Karimganj to Agartala, Badarpur to Bhairabi (Mizoram) and Aruchal, near Silchar, to Jiribam on these work is fast progressing and will be completed by the stipulated time frame.
It was quite in consideration of the bottleneck for non-completion of the Silchar-Lumding BG, extension of tracks to the three states was held up. The railway budget not only has laid stress on the extension of track beyond Bhairabi but also from Jiribam to Tulup, near Imphal. The budget has also made a provision of Rs.50,000 each for survey of new line between Patharkandi to Kanmum (Mizoram) and Panisagar to Simapur (Tripura). Equally important, is to take the line from Bhairabi to Sairang.
Representatives of various organizations including Chamber of Commerce impressed upon him to explore the possibility of opening the Mahisashan-Sylhet route. This will require gauge conversion. It is also remarkable that the gauge conversion to Agartala, Tupul (Imphal) and Bhairabi has been making fast progress. Two freight trains were flagged off by remote, one for Jiribam and the other Jirania (Agartala). As promised by Suresh Prabhu, it is now a near possibility to see all the state capitals of north east region on railway map by 2020.
Once the capitals of Manipuri and Mizoram are linked by BG, not only Barak Valley but also the neighbouring states will be immensely benefitted. The connectivity will help in transportation of goods and materials from the remote areas for the potential market outside. Not only agriculture but also industry will get a boost. Besides, the untapped tural resources will be utilized for commercial exploitation, leading to the socio-economic uplift of the people. It will also create job opportunities and encourage skill development.